Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Watermelon Gazpacho

Spouts, one of the food chains in this area, has started a monthly blogger get-together, and the second one I attended was at a cooking school called Cook Street School of Culinary Arts. And I've got their Watermelon Gazpacho recipe for you.

This is a view of where we had our class.

The theme was pizza. 

Pizzas are baking!

Here's another shot of the pizza oven. Isn't it great?

Needless to say, I rocked it with the dough-making, kneading, and shaping. Maybe I showed off a little bit. Diego, the sole Sprouts representative at the event, seemed like he had a lot of fun even though his pizza wasn't exactly round. He was a good sport!

We also stretched mozzarella, which was fun. They suggested that you can buy mozzarella curd, but you can also make your own - I've actually done it, and it's fun. (Why haven't I blogged about it? I have no idea!) To make it easier, you can buy a kit for making the cheese from scratch. Or actually from milk. But you knew what I meant, right?

They gave us a bunch of recipes to take home, for pizza, sauce, green goddess dressing, and a basil pesto, but the one that really intrigued me was the watermelon gazpacho. Which was one of the few things we didn't have our hands on. It was served to us as a little starter as the people from the cooking school introduced themselves and told us about what we were going to be doing.

Here's my finished pizza. And yes, that's a glass of wine.

The thing I thought was most interesting about the watermelon gazpacho was that it really didn't taste like watermelon. The tomato flavor was much more pronounced. What the watermelon added was a freshness and lightness. It wasn't like drinking pureed tomatoes.

And then there was the dollop of cheese on top - a blend of creme fraiche and feta that I wanted to steal off of everyone else's glass. I didn't know what it was, but I have to say I was pleased it was so simple. I can imagine using it as a dip with the addition of some herbs or as a dressing on fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.

I usually don't publish other people's recipes here, but I liked this so much I wanted to save it to make later. The recipe makes quite a bit, but it should be easy enough to cut this in half or even make just 1/4 of it.

Watermelon Gazpacho
Courtesy of Cook Street School of Culinary Arts

5 cups watermelon, small dice
4 tomatoes, cored, small dice
1 English cucumber, small dice
1/2 cup red onion, small dice
2 Fresno chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and brunoised (a really small dice)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and finely ground
2 ounces feta
1/2 cup creme fraiche
Salt, to taste

Puree half of each of the watermelon, tomato, cucumber, onion, and chile with the vinegar, oil, and cumin in a blender until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and vinegar, as desired. If it's too thick, add more cucumber or tomato.

Fold in the remaining watermelon and vegetables.

Puree the feta and creme fraiche.

Serve the gazpacho with a small dollop of the feta mix.

Thanks to Sprouts and Cook Street School of Culinary Arts for sponsoring and hosting the event. Some photos are courtesy of Sprouts; photos with captions are mine.